Cheems, the iconic meme dog, has passed away.
The Shiba Inu breed dog, also known as Balltze, reportedly died on Friday, August 18, 2023, during surgery to treat cancer.
He was 12 years old at the time of his passing.
News of his passing was relayed by his owner, sharing what transpired during Balltze’s final moments leading to his unfortunate demise.
“Ball Ball fell asleep on Friday morning during his last thoracentesis surgery.
Originally, we wanted to arrange chemotherapy or other possible treatment for him after this operation, but it is too late now,” the Instagram post reads.
“Don’t be sad, please remember the joy that Balltze brought to the world.”
BIRTH OF A MEME
Balltze shot to fame in 2017 after a photo of him displaying an awkward facial expression went viral.
His love of cheeseburgers earned him the nickname “Cheems.”
Cheems’s popularity grew further during the COVID-19 pandemic, with the picture of him becoming widely used as memes on social media.
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“A Shiba Inu with a round smiling face connecting you and me, he has helped many people during the pandemic and brought a lot of joy to many of you, but now his mission has been completed,” wrote Cheems’s owner.
“I believe he is running freely in the sky and having a lot of delicious food with his new friends.
“He will always be inside my heart. I hope he can continue to bring joy to everyone in the online world, that’s my only humble request.”
Cheems’s owner intends to donate the unused money supposedly for medical bills to “local animal charities.”
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Meanwhile, tributes online continue to pour in, with netizens expressing grief and saying thank-yous and farewells to the iconic meme dog.
Many paid tribute by saying that Cheems will live in everybody’s hearts forever and that his “legacy remains undiminished” as long as the memes exist.